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Parent's death didn't affect me.

(13 Posts)
vienna1981 Tue 12-May-15 20:55:46

My mum died last July after a long illness. She was 76, I am now 44. Although the hospital visits were tiresome and largely unfulfilling, in retrospect I found them much more difficult to deal with than Mum's eventual passing. The afternoon my eldest sister phoned me to Mum had died, my reaction was calm to the point of indifference. I literally took the phone call which only lasted for about a minute, carried on putting the shopping away and sat down with a bottle of beer. I drank a silent toast to Mum and that was my only immediate reaction, apart from 'thank goodness'. I more or less carried on as normal until the funeral although I was already off work sick as I couldn't concentrate and was potentially a liability (outdoor manual industry). I haven't shed a single tear over Mum's death. In fact, the last time I cried I was about 9 years old. Not once since then. I don't know if that makes me emotionally strong or devoid of emotion. On the other hand, my middle sister is still receiving bereavement counselling which, BTW, I don't think is helping her any more.

Thanks for letting me share this storysmile .

Stealthpolarbear Tue 12-May-15 20:58:45

im sorry flowers
it's coming up to a year now so must be playing on your mind
presume you knew the end was coming? did it not just seem like you'd done your grieving?

Northernlurker Tue 12-May-15 21:10:13

Well everybody is different. You don't remember crying since childhood, I cried this morning (work frustrations). Both reactions are within norms for us. I would worry about myself if I couldn't cry, you are obviously programmed totally differently and would worry if you did. Both types of reaction are fine if that's your way.
You had been through a marathon on the way to your mum's passing and it clearly did affect you because you couldn't concentrate. That's a symptom of the strain you were under. You certainly aren't devoid of emotion. Feeling relief is an emotion. You were accepting and relieved that your mum wasn't enduring any more. That's totally fine. When you look back you can recognise that was difficult for you.
Grief is a weird thing. It doesn't always look like we think it will and the truth is some bereavements are easier to process than others. I think my bill's death was quite shocking to me which is weird because it was an expected death (cancer). I was afflicted with a twitch in my eye which took months to resolve. Pure stress. That's not a reaction anybody could predict or explain. Certainly doesn't fit in any box does it?

Livvylongpants Tue 12-May-15 21:17:23

i'm also like this.

my father died when I was 19 3 months after my daughter was born. my grandmother died 2 years later when my son was 3 months old and then my beloved stepmother died last January a week after my youngest daughter was born (my kids are obviously killing people)

I cried when I got the news about my dad. like literal sink to floor, hysteria. it lasted 10 minutes. after that I appear to have been devoid of emotion about it all. which is strange considering I cry at everything else. argument with DH? tears. feeling tired? tears. daughter getting jabs? tears the woman who was like a mother to me dying? Nothing. nada. not a peep.

my other half thinks its because I havn't accepted it yet, and I worry one day it'll all hit me

vienna1981 Wed 13-May-15 04:53:16

Thanks for your stories folks.

Coyoacan Wed 13-May-15 06:04:05

Hiya OP, another one here. My mum died of bone cancer and we were actually praying for her to die. It was really only a month from when we found out she had a terminal illness until she died but it felt like ten years. Someone explained to me that the mourning starts long before they die and I'm sure that is the case.

The important thing is that you were there for her when it was needed.

Optimist1 Wed 13-May-15 06:41:24

Loss isn't measured in terms of how many tears shed, OP. Trust me on that.

confusedandemployed Wed 13-May-15 06:52:10

My mum died aged 51, when I was 24. She had cancer and I did cry, but my overweening feeling was relief. I think this is inevitable. Terminal illness is hard: not just for the person with the illness. It takes its toll terribly on their families too, and yet you sometimes don't even realise because you're 'in the moment' of caring for the sick person, trying to function as normally as's very hard. It's little wonder that many people feel relief when the end comes: for their family member and for themselves.
Also, when mum was ill I think I experienced a level of emotional detachment before she died. It was unintentional, but I suppose it was my brain's way of preparing for the inevitable, so that when she did die I had tried already to mitigate the pain I would feel.
I think if you're not someone who cries, then you're just not: as PP have said, I think that is normal. I'm on the other end of the spectrum and frankly it's a pain when you shed a tear at the drop of a hat (dog food as, nappy ads...blush)

Livvylongpants Wed 13-May-15 08:12:37

that's what I always find strange confusedandemployed

I AM a crying person, except when it comes to death of people I love. I went to a near strangers funeral and cried buckets. I recall an argument with my sister where she said I must be hard and heartless.

vienna1981 Wed 13-May-15 12:55:08

I suppose I too was just waiting for the inevitable. During Mum's final weeks it gradually dawned on me that she would be extremely unlikely to leave hospital alive, although I kept that thought to myself. So I was prepared for the moment.

crazyhead Thu 14-May-15 23:04:12

My Mum died recently after a having an aggressive brain tumour for four years. So far, Dad in particular has been very calm, got appetite back, just dealing with probate and the funeral. He feels guilty because people who knew her less well are in bits and are almost shocked he isn't falling apart. He absolutely adored my mum, but the thing is he's been tackling this and her illness and decline for years.

(Obviously, it is early days for my family and Dad's reaction may change).

What counts is that you do your best when someone is alive. Beyond that, you have to trust your brain to do the processing. Also, I think that really deep feelings like the illness death of a family member are often sublimated into other feelings. I had my two sons in the period while Mum was terminally ill and was really upset that neither was a daughter. I think now that my feelings were to do with me mourning the oncoming loss of a mother daughter relationship with my Mum. Sounds a bit mad I know!

buggerthebotox Thu 14-May-15 23:15:07

I didn't cry when my father died (suddenly), and I didn't when my mother died either (cancer). I cry very little as a rule, but I think I kind of internalise grief and get very bitter inside, if that makes sense. I seem to have a need to be seen as "strong", particularly when others are depending on me. I've been called "cold": I'm far from cold deep down.

vienna1981 Fri 15-May-15 11:51:43

I've been referred to as a tower of strength before but in different circumstances.

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